The much-awaited CFCI National Singles Conference with the theme “Hearts of Sacrifice” was held from August 29 to 31, 2014 at Panjim, Goa. CFCI Singles from all over India experienced a mighty outpouring of grace on all the three days. Sessions included praise and worship, inspiring talks, moving testimonies, celebration of the Eucharist, Eucharistic adoration and vibrant gospel music by the bands – ‘Grace Afterglow’ from Mumbai and ‘Faith’ from Goa.
The conference was declared open by Tito A V Jose, the Country Servant. He welcomed the Singles and explained the theme of the conference. As the delegates clapped and cheered, Levin Gomes, the National Singles Program Coordinator addressed the gathering. The Singles were given a brief explanation on what they could expect from the conference.
Jimmy Xavier, from Bangalore gave the first session on “Marks of a Disciple”. During the teaching, the Singles got to examine their lives and their faithfulness to God’s call in becoming His true disciples. Jimmy helped them realize that there was a gap in their day-to-day lives while practicing their belief in Jesus, specifically measured by their goal, single-mindedness and desire for the salvation of souls.
Kim Xavier, from Bangalore followed with the second teaching on “Sacrifice, our call”. She explained that the big challenge each one has in living out their belief in Jesus is their self-centered nature and therefore she asked them to come out of it and be aligned with what God has desired for each one. She said that as a disciple God wants everybody to declare, “Because I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. She further added that the only way we can allow God to take His rightful place and we step aside, is through Sacrifice.
Bishop Rev. Fr. Alwyn Fernandes Baretto, Bishop of Sindhdurg diocese, Maharashtra, was invited to celebrate the Eucharist for the day. After the mass, the delegates rushed to their rooms to change into their witty characters as the stage was set for the entertainment night – “Groovie with Movie”. The different trailers the delegates had prepared were hilarious and the audience had a great time as some future stars were spotted. The Bangalore and Mumbai Chapters were declared as the winners by the end of the competition.
As the Singles gathered for rosary and praise and worship, the participants were gradually led into repentance and examination of conscience by Glen Rodrigues from the Faith band. It was followed by Eucharistic celebration by Fr Justin Sequiera SSS.
Joshua Cordeiro, CFCI Single from Caranzalem Chapter, gave the next session on, “Living for the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” He made the Singles realize that somewhere each of us had failed to live up to God’s call. He explained that as true disciples we should be prepared to make others as disciples even at the cost of comforts, possessions and life.
The Singles also got a beautiful souvenir as they were taught to make the ‘Sacrifice Beads’ themselves. St Therese of Lisieux had used these beads to offer her everyday tasks with love for God on a daily basis and the Singles were asked to do the same.
Tito A V Jose, continued with the next talk on the importance of intercession as an individual and also as a community. He further urged the Singles to consider serving the Lord as a full-timer for at least one year as the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Few Singles also shared their testimonies on how God had worked so beautifully in their lives.
The Singles then headed for their regular group discussions after the sessions. After dinner, it was a time of fun and activity. Several games were organized for the Singles to familiarize and bond with each other.
The final day of the conference started with the Eucharistic celebration. The Singles waited with bated breath to hear the last teaching by Dr. Ehrlson De Souza from Porvorim on, “Yielding to the Holy Spirit”. The Singles got to introspect whether their lives were led by the Holy Spirit or not. He made them understand that it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can live a life of sacrifice and bear fruit for the kingdom of God.
The most significant part of the day was the ‘Infilling Session’. As Fr. Justin laid hands and prayed over the Formators and Household Servants, they went forth and prayed over their Household Members. The Singles adored the presence of the Lord and were Spirit-filled. Later, the Singles were asked to chalk out an action plan by Levin. The different Chapters decided on how they would sacrifice and intercede once they return back to their homes.
As the MCs, Biron D’souza and Maria Laveena thanked the Singles for attending the conference and bid them good-bye until next year, many faces turned pale, but an exhilarating evening of Praise Fest by the Faith band brought back their smiles as they left the place.